Retail

Ulta Looks To Take On Department Stores With Aggressive Growth

Calling Ulta Beauty an up-and-coming firm feels a bit funny, given that the business first opened its doors 25 years ago. If a business could rent a car on its own were it a person, it is hard to think of it as a newcomer.

But Ulta may be somewhat new to some consumers’ radar since the firm has spent that last quarter decade slowly and quietly building into becoming one of the top names in makeup, perfume, skin products, hair enhancers and salon services. All in Ulta carries 500 brands and 20,000 products, all located in stores that clock in at an impressive 10,000 square feet apiece.

And they are creeping up on their competitors in department stores, Macy’s and JCPenney, and their large beauty departments, with plans to get even bigger.

That means bigger both in individual stores — which are about to get 9.5 percent more square footage on average — and in the number of stores, which are set to expand by 77 to 874.

Their growing pile of money justifies this move. Sales in FY 2015 were $3.9 billion, a 21 percent increase. Same store sales were up over 11 percent.

However, as Ulta expands, the competition gets more intense and as of this week, the firm is stepping up the level of its came with the launch of Drybar, a haircare product line.

“We are very excited about our new partnership with Ulta Beauty,” said Drybar CEO John Heffner. “They are a great operator who really understand their customer. We see this as an important next step in the evolution of Drybar.”

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